Great Egrets, Great Fishermen.


Great Egret photographer by David Blohm

Great Egret photographer by David Blohm

Identifying Them:

Great Egrets are a lot like Great Blue Herons and are in the same family called Ardeidae. The Ardeidae family also includes other Egrets, Herons and Bitterns. These Egrets are about 3.3 feet tall when measured standing up straight, which is an entire meter. besides the size difference, the Great Egret can be distinguished from other white egrets by its yellow bill and black legs and feet, (but their bill may get darker and their legs may become lighter in the breeding season).


Great Egrets live all over the world, they live year round in Southern Africa, South America and the west coast of North America. You can see the entire range map of Great Egrets at:
Great Egrets will usually be in marshes, ponds, mud flats, sides of lakes and rivers.


When they are hunting, they walk slowly in shallow water waiting for prey to come by, then they thrust their necks quickly and catch it with their bills. They are gorgeous fliers and they soar with their neck tucked in.

Nesting and Nestlings:

Males choose the nest site which are usually in or near the top of a shrub, redwood, tamarisk, live oak, eastern red cedar, yaupon holly, wax myrtle, mangrove, Australian pine, buttonwood, Brazilian pepper, black willow, or privet. They will mostly nest in trees near the water where they can easily access food. Though most Great Egrets nest in trees they will occasionally nest on the ground or on wooden platforms. The male constructs a nest platform of long twigs before pairing up with a female, but then she joins him to complete the nest together, though the male will sometimes finish it by himself. The nest can be up to 3 feet across and 1 foot deep. It is lined with plant material that dries up and forms a cup shape structure.

Great Egrets are monogamous and usually start breeding at 2-3 years of age. Females lay about 1 to 6 eggs which are a light greenish blue color. She incubates them for about 23-26 days. When they hatch they are fed by both parents through regurgitation. Chicks can be violent and will attack intruders and their sibling too. By three weeks old, they will start to leave the nest. In the wild they may live to about 15 years.



Great Egrets are Carnivores and their diet is almost all just fish but they may eat other aquatic creatures, crustaceans and frogs. They may sometimes eat rodents too if they see them, like rats and mice.


About faithelise

I love learning about species of birds and want to be an Ornathologist. Writing about birds is my passion and I love every part of it!
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